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MouseStation 413 - Dining at Epcot with Karen Haynes

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On today's show, Food & Beverage Marketing Manager Karen Haynes talks with Mark about dining at Epcot, we share some listener feedback, and close with a wonderful Magical Moment.

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Feature: Dining at Epcot with Karen Haynes

Karen Haynes, Food & Beverage Marketing Manager for Walt Disney World, recently talked with Mark about food at Epcot, plus a wonderful Magical Moment and listener feedback.

With the addition of Via Napoli and La Hacienda de San Angel, and the expansion of La Cantina de San Angel, approximately 600 seats were added to dining capacity at Epcot. Via Napoli seats 200, while the Hacienda/Cantina combination seats 250 indoors and 150 outdoors. The changes that are being made are in response to what guests are telling Disney that they want.

Guests are doing more and more to incorporate dining into their vacation plans. Guests looking for more signature dining experiences in the park caused the conversion of Le Cellier to 2 table service dining credits.

Chefs have a great deal of flexibility in creating menus at their restaurants. That, combined with chef changes and the changes in availability of ingredients, have resulted in menu changes, and menu choices have decreased to allow more flexibility in the menus. With the advent of Food Network and other avenues, guests have become more aware of a variety of ingredients and this has led to more complexity of dishes, rather than simplified dishes as some have complained.

Those dining at resorts and those dining at the parks have different goals. They have different expectations in how long they'll spend to dine and how they'll dress for dinner.

Flex seating is not currently planned for any other dining locations beyond La Cantina/La Hacienda and the upcoming Be Our Guest Restaurant, but it is certainly a possibility if guests appear to want it.

Karen recommends thinking of dining as a part of the vacation experience and making those dining reservations as early as possible. She also recommends thinking a little differently about where to dine and maybe look for something different. Karen also makes some recommendations about dining choices that you may not have considered.

Mark talks a bit about his dining experiences on his most recent trip, as well as some of the people that he got to spend time with (yes, he finally got a chance to meet Dan the Light Man and Nancy the Light Girl!).

What do you think?

Our thanks to Karen Haynes for taking the time to sit with Mark (and for buying lunch!), and to Laura Spencer for setting the interview up.

Listener Feedback

Mike Morizio wrote in to wish us well on our sabbatical and hoped that we would return. (We did!)

John Papas asked if the listeners could help with anything in making sure that we returned, and suggested that a live call-in show would help.

Terra from New Mexico wrote to say that she enjoys the show, but wishes that we had more Disneyland-centric content.

Pete Altemese was glad to hear us back, and he's getting excited about his upcoming trip. He and his family are going to Walt Disney World during Thanksgiving for the first time since 2006. We're looking forward to his trip report.

Keri in Missouri agreed with our opinions on the "Let the Memories Begin" campaign from our last show, and made some suggestions for some interesting possible enhancements related to the promotion. She's excited that we're back.

Magical Moment

This week's Magical Moment came via email from Tom Hart, who talked some wonderful memories about a trip to Walt Disney World with his wife, children and grandchildren in February 2007, his youngest granddaughter appeared to really have magic at her fingertips. It is probably one of the best Magical Moments we've had on the show to date.

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Thanks to our announcer, Andrew Rich.

Thank you for listening!

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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).